How Clearwater Beach Got Its Name

How Clearwater Beach Got Its Name

This seems like an easy question to answer. Clearwater Beach got its name from being a beach with clear ocean waves, right? Wrong.

The Clearwater area was first settled in the 1800s. At the time, the area was called Clear Water Harbor. In 1895 Clear Water was combined into a single word, Clearwater. I’ve never actually heard why it was combined to a single word, but the area became “Clearwater Harbor.” Eleven years later in 1906, “Harbor” was dropped, and the area just became “Clearwater.”

The beach in the area matched these changes and is Clearwater Beach. The first bridge connecting Clearwater to Clearwater Beach was a wooden bridge which was built in 1917. The access to Clearwater Beach opened the beach area to development.

That’s how the name Clearwater Beach took shape, but the inspiration for the word Clearwater or Clear Water needs to be talked about still. As mentioned before, it does not come from the clear Gulf of Mexico waters. It actually comes from the clear water of another water source.

The phrase clear water was used frequently in the area because there used to be many natural springs in the area. As the city of Clearwater (Clear Water Habor) was being created, you’d see crystal clear water from the natural springs running down the hills and into the bay. While these springs no longer exist, the city which was named after them continues to grow and attract visitors from around the world! Clearwater Beach has been ranked the #1 Best Beach in the United States and one of the Best Beaches in the World!

Learn more about the history of Clearwater, Florida on the city’s website and view unique historical photos on the Clearwater Historical Society’s website!


Check out “How has Clearwater Beach evolved over the past century? Florida Wonders explores.” by the Tampa Bay Times for amazing before and after photos of Clearwater Beach. There’s even photos of the original wooden bridge stretching 2 and a half miles from downtown Clearwater to Clearwater Beach!

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